Eyes that Kiss in the Corner Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
by Joanna Ho - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions that explore family love and what makes us unique.

Through poetic words and beautiful illustrations, a young Asian girl celebrates what makes her unique. This book is a gentle story about self-love and the power of family in shaping our identity. Reading this story together provides an opportunity to listen generously and celebrate each person's unique beauty and gifts. 

Literature Guide by Maureen Klein

Before Reading 

Ask: Each one of us is unique. What are some things that make you the same and different from your friends?

Show: Look at the illustration on the copyright and dedication page. Describe the flowers and talk about what flowers make you think and feel. As you listen to the story, look for flowers in the illustrations throughout the book. What do you think the flowers add to the meaning?

Connect: This story is about noticing and celebrating the beauty of our family traits. Listen and look for the ways the girl celebrates who she is. 

During Reading 

Ask:  Pause on the page that begins with, “When Mama tucks me in at night …” Describe how the girl feels in her Mama’s arms. Families live differently and look differently, but family love is strong. What are some different ways families show love?

Show: Look at the illustrations on the page that show the girl listening to her Amah’s stories. What do you notice? Look for details of Chinese culture, such as the tea set, Amah’s bracelet, the Chinese dresses and clothes of the women in her stories. Amah's family stories tell about her place in a bigger community. 

Connect: Stories of our family and our history are part of what makes us who we are. Think about a time you had fun with someone in your family. Describe the event. Different families have their own stories and events. What is good about being part of a colorful and diverse community with all those different stories? 

After Reading 

Ask: What words does the girl use to describe her eyes? What words would you use to describe her personality? 

Show: Look at several pages with flowers in the illustrations. Describe the way the flowers are different. How are people like the flowers?

Connect: The girl talked about how special she felt when she was with her Mama and Amah and little sister Mei-Mei, telling stories and playing games. Who in your life makes you feel special, and what do they do that makes you feel that way? In what ways can you pass that on to others? 


  1. The author describes different eyes using poetic language. Describe your own eyes with creative color names and comparisons to beautiful things. Not all family members look alike; describe the eyes of other people in your family. Describe your friend's eyes.
  2. Watch the short film “Hair Love.” In what ways are stories Eyes that Kiss in the Corner and Hair Love alike?
  3. At the beginning of the book, the girl looks at herself in a mirror before leaving for school. This is a story about loving oneself. Use a mirror to really look at yourself. Then create a self-portrait.
  4. Eyes that Kiss in the Corner reads like a poem. The author uses figurative language to describe the girl’s eyes. Write a poem about something you love about yourself.
  5. Talk with a grandparent or older relative. Ask them to tell you stories about when they were little.